☕ Good Sunday morning.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Democratic campaigns are secretly shopping dirt on their primary rivals much earlier than usual, reflecting the high stakes of surging or sinking quickly with so many people running so early.
Opposition research — "oppo," as the campaigns call it — usually flies later in the campaign season.
Republicans had four years to get ready to run again Hillary Clinton. But this year, no one knows who might eventually emerge as the Democratic nominee.
America Rising Corp., the GOP oppo factory that works with the Republican National Committee and President Trump's super PAC, has already deployed cameras in early states to track Democratic candidates' appearances.
Another dynamic inflicting pain on the infant campaigns is the aggressive, competitive news environment.
The cover of today's WashPost Outlook section features a thoroughly convincing — and therefore appalling — history of how intertwined blackface was with a century of American culture.
Barnes writes that the prevalence of blackface extended to the Gridiron Club, which today remains a prestigious organization of top Washington journalists, known for its annual dinner featuring musical skits that singe the powerful:
One of clearest examples of the relationship between American politicians and amateur blackface is the annual Gridiron Dinner in Washington, which a century ago might as well have been called the annual White House minstrel show. At the Gridiron Club, Theodore Roosevelt beamed when Lew Dockstader, an Elks minstrel celebrity, shuffled onstage in blackface impersonating an African American from Tuskegee University.
Newly inaugurated President William Howard Taft took his front-row seat in 1909 at what one newspaper hailed as America’s "national minstrel show" ... Perhaps the most disturbing show was in 1921, when President Warren G. Harding and the Cabinet got an "unexpected thrill when a Ku Klux Klan demonstration took place" during the dinner, as the Baltimore Sun reported it.
A "group of clansmen in hooded garb, riding hobby horses, rushed upon the scene. Out went the lights, leaving only a spotlight to illuminate the ghostly visitation." They impersonated a raid. They "seized and dragged the two shivering victims to the front" to mock interrogate them onstage.
Bob Woodward — author of "FEAR: Trump in the White House," and an associate editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1971 — wrote an email of support on Friday to Post owner Jeff Bezos, following his Medium post defying the National Enquirer:
Jeff: Proud of you for stepping forward in such a difficult situation. Very gutsy and definitely right. This period reminds me of 1972-1974, perhaps Watergate Redux. So many assaults on constitutional government, common sense and privacy. Let's hope we all get it right — aggressive but careful and fair. Cheers and best, Bob Woodward
Sen. Elizabeth Warren made her presidential candidacy official yesterday in the industrial city of Lawrence, Mass., the Boston Globe writes:
[S]he told ... of the immigrant workers who toiled in squalid, deadly conditions in the old textile mills around her, and who launched the Bread and Roses strike of 1912 that ultimately led to higher wages and improved conditions.
"The 400 richest Americans — the top 0.00025 percent of the population — have tripled their share of the nation’s wealth since the early 1980s, according to a new working paper on wealth inequality by University of California at Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman," the WashPost's Christopher Ingram reports.
"Those 400 Americans own more of the country’s riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution, who saw their share of the nation’s wealth fall from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014, according to the World Inequality Database maintained by Zucman and others."
In a sign of Nikki Haley's continuing star power, the former UN ambassador will be the guest of honor at a dinner with about 20 of Manhattan's top GOP donors on Feb. 27, Axios has learned.
Singer is working to identify and recruit female candidates to help Republicans hold the Senate and regain ground in the House. He's supporting former Rep. Elise Stefanik's E-PAC, aimed at boosting women candidates.
FastPass madness ... "In an impatient nation, where real status and privilege ... are hard to come by, the fast lane is an increasingly popular perk," the Boston Globe's Beth Teitell writes:
"This spring, ... Red Sox fans who are members of TSA’s PreCheck ... will be allowed to enter Fenway Park through a dedicated and faster gate: Gate E."
"Idemia is planning to create a 'Trusted Fan Program' at Fenway and other ... venues":